“If we view corruption as truly unethical and immoral behaviour, we cannot stop at just looking at the public officials and politicians who abuse their powers – we must go much further than that. For example, we rightly demand greater scrupulousness from those in public office; yet we live in a world where the public culture endorses the bursitis of greed and unmitigated success, at least until someone is found breaking the law,” he told some 1,500 representatives of international anti-corruption governmental agencies and commissions attending a conference in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.So, how corrupt is the Malaysian society, and how efficient and effective is the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in dealing with it?
Most importantly how do we define corruption? Does a reward, commission, lobby money, kickback and political fund comes under such a definition?
I wish I had the chance to speak at the MACC Academy in Jalan Duta, specifically on this subject. Why, I have been part of the 'corrupt society' from the day I recognised what money can buy and do. And I believe many more - millions of them - are like me.
As a kid, I was always given an extra 5 sen or 10 sen by my parents, grandparents and others to buy what they needed from the market or shop, on the condition that I do it straight away and deliver it fast. Frankly, that was also part of my 'earnings' for pocket money.
What do you call that? Bribery?
Years ago, when calling at the Income-tax office in Jalan Duta, the 'pencari fail' said my file would be ready in three working days. However, after showing him a RM50 note, he said "give me 3 minutes, abang!"
At the particular moment, I realised that such a practice was not only corrupt but also deprive those without money, especially the poor, from getting a fast and efficient service.
And today, just walk into any office and department offering counter services - immigration, banks, national registration office, government clinic, etc - jumping the 'Q' is a common practice for those who are able to buy the time and speed.
Yes, it is unethical and immoral but there are more serious cases that are 'covered up' by the authorities, notably involving the top brass.
Kickbacks that goes into ministers' political fund for projects awarded by the ministries, special project allocation for the special officers around their waist, commission from public contracts, reward for senior officers over land approval, etc.
There were cases where members of the judiciary, including lawyers were 'bought' to acquit murderers, robbers, drug peddlers, loan sharks, rapists and others by destroying evidence and creating alibis to stand for the accused.
The MACC is too keen in hauling up 'small fish', including a policeman who took RM10 from a motorcyclist without a valid driving license rather than going deep into the force and nab some senior officers for massing up tonnes of 'protection' money every month from illegal gambling dens, owners of brothel and massage parlor, pirated CD 'tauke' and other outlawed businesses.
Take note of these examples:
- a 35-year old police inspector drives a 5-serie to work.
- a temporary staff at the Immigration Dept buys an E-250 after working for six months.
- a land office officer can afford to pay a monthly RM2,200 for a RM500,000 bungalow he bought with his RM3,00 salary, despite having a wife and 4 kids.
- a MP with a monthly RM10,000 allowance can afford to hire 3 bodyguards @ RM2,000 each per month, a new 5-serie, service his housing loan and 2 wifes and 6 kids.
- a senior government officer under JUSA C can afford to have a bungalow, another 2 houses, 4 Continental cars, 3 maids and 2 gardeners.
There are many more.
Personally, I don't trust the MACC much. Some of its members are also corrupt. I got a strong case against a Dato', with all proofs pointing to his corrupt practice. However, the officer in charge of the case was transferred out from Putrajaya, to Sabah.
I heard a lot of things about the irregularities at MACC but sorry to say, they always think they are never at fault, and free from any malpractice.
The worst corrupt practice, to me is money politics but who would like to become a politician without enough money to spend?
So, political money is not categorised as graft?
And what about the money reward by MACC to any whistleblower who could feed the right info about any corrupt practice around him/her? Without the offer, do you think many people would cooperate?